Nadal serves notice on his rivals for World Tour finals

ACE: Rafael Nadal.  17/05/2009. Pic. Andres Kudacki. © AP
ACE: Rafael Nadal. 17/05/2009. Pic. Andres Kudacki. © AP

LONDON - World number one Rafael Nadal has booked a place in the end-of-season ATP World Tour finals being staged in London for the first time, organisers said yesterday.

Nadal, the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon champion, will be joined at the November 22 to 29 event by the world's seven other leading players.

The Spaniard, who won this year's first grand slam in Australia and three of the prestigious Masters Series events in Indiana Wells, Monte Carlo and Rome, missed last season's finale in Shanghai because of tendonitis in his knee.

Despite qualifying for the tournament for the past four years, Nadal has twice withdrawn through injury and has never reached the final, having lost to Roger Federer in the semifinals in 2006 and 2007.

"History shows us that players love playing in this event and I'm very confident that everybody who qualifies will want to be here," tournament director Brad Drewett told reporters at yesterday's launch next to the River Thames. Tournament organisers said 150000 of the 250000 tickets had already been snapped up with another 65000 going on sale to the general public.

"Our goal is to make this the biggest and best indoor sporting event in the world," the ATP's chief marketing officer, Phil Anderton said. "The depth of talent in men's tennis at the moment, with the likes of Federer, Nadal, [Andy] Murray and [Novak] Djokovic means that fans can expect to see some epic tennis."

The round-robin event, which this year will have a prize pot of $5million with 1500 ATP world ranking points going to the winner, will be held at London's 02 Arena for five years. - Reuters